Third-time Pullman resident uses ceramic experience to build community

Pottery studio integrates accessibility and creativity, hosts all-inclusive events throughout month; owned by WSU alum



Terracotta Pottery hosts an outdoor event on Main St where workers and attendees were welcome to observe, learn, and participate in pottery making. Oct 7.

MINDY MALONE, Evergreen copy chief

For Candace Baltz, what started as a concussion in the summer of 2020 molded like clay into an opportunity to pursue a dream built around inclusivity and community. 

This dream was twice-fired and finalized when she opened the doors to Terracotta, Pullman’s new pottery studio, earlier this year, Baltz said. 

When Baltz hit her head in 2020, she and her doctors initially thought it was a normal concussion, she said. When she tried to return to work — which had moved to virtual because of the pandemic – she began having seizures. Her doctors reasoned the electronics were affecting her and advised her to go screen-free until they could figure out the next steps.

Baltz grew up in a pottery studio. She always assumed pottery would be something she did after retiring, but left unable to visit others due to the pandemic and needing to rehabilitate her motor skills, Baltz’s husband suggested they build her a home pottery studio, she said.

“That’s how I healed in the pandemic. It started out to heal from the head injury, but it really, really was healing on a much deeper level,” Baltz said.

After parting ways with her job, she and her husband decided to move back to Pullman. The two are WSU alumni and lived in Pullman once before. Baltz said returning to Pullman felt like coming home.

After deciding to move, Baltz reached out to a friend and Pullman resident Meg Gollnick. The two met the last time Baltz lived in Pullman, Gollnick said. When Baltz decided she wanted to open a pottery studio, Gollnick helped connect her to the people and resources that could bring that idea to fruition.

In less than a year, the fruit of that labor, Terracotta, was able to open its doors, Gollnick said.

At its core, Terracotta aims to be accessible and inclusive, Baltz said. Whether it’s age, identity, body size, economics or any other factor, Baltz wants everyone to feel welcome and be able to participate.

“The best thing about opening the studio is that it’s an all-inclusive place, a place everyone is welcome,” Gollnick said. “And I think people feel that when they go there.”

The space itself is structured to foster community; with many seats around long tables, participants are likely to sit with strangers and are encouraged to converse as they sculpt. Some of the projects are a bit silly, and people are encouraged to get their hands dirty and have fun, Baltz said.

On top of being able to book regular studio time, Terracotta also hosts special events and themed workshops, she said. 

To celebrate the first day of fall, Terracotta held a “Fall of the Patriarchy” event, where half of each registration fee was donated to the participants’ local feminist charity of choice. Baltz said for the month of October, they are holding “Freaky Fridays” and “Spooky Saturdays” with workshops to make themed items, including mini pumpkins and mushroom wind chimes.

The studio requires participants to register in advance for their events via the website so payment and seat availability are not a worry when they come to sculpt, Baltz said. Registration costs cover two hours of studio time, all basic tools and up to 3 pounds of clay, as well as a second visit for glazing.

Baltz recently acquired two additional studio spaces in Terracotta’s host building and is looking to expand to other mediums like sewing and fiber arts in the future, she said.

“I really want people to heal. From a personal, community level,” Baltz said. “I want people to reconnect with themselves. In this high-pressure, rushed world and all these external forces, stimuli, whatever, telling you what you should be or how to conform. I want people to just be able to hear their own thoughts and connect with other people as people.”

Terracotta is located at 107 S. Grand Ave. Suite C.